- Queen of Babylon
Author: Michael Ferris Gibson
- Series: Book 2 of Babylon Twins
Publisher: Girl Friday Books
- ISBN: 9781954854710
- Published: January 2023
- Pages: 292
- Format reviewed: E-Book
- Review date: 23/01/2023
- Language: English
Twins have always had a mystery around them. Two people brought up so closely together that they have their own language. In Michael Ferris Gibson and Imani Josey’s Babylon Twin series, the language that the twins use is called the Twinkling, a speech so intuitive that only they can understand it. I know a set of twins very well in the real world and their special language is called something remarkably similar, the Bickering and I can understand a lot of the course language used. Thankfully in book two, Queen of Babylon, we have an army of Josephines to save the world and not my two mates.
When Josephine wakes up it is within a strange chamber. Panic overtakes her and she breaks loose. She does not have time to ponder how she has the strength to do this, all she thinks about is escape. What Josephine has not realised yet is that she has woken in a future were rival AIs have divvied up the planet and an uneasy peace has been agreed between them. She is now Seven, one of over a million Josephine androids created to protect Yerba City.
A good trilogy should work as a series of books, but also has individual titles. I never had the chance to read book one, so like Josephine, I feel like I was dropped into the deep end of the pool at the start of Queen. A lot is fired at the character and the reader in a short time, but Gibson and Josey use the opportunity to supercharge the world building. Within a few chapters we are aware of Seven’s different role within her collective and the uneasy peace across the planet. She sets off on an epic journey that will be the making her but could also save the planet.
Queen is set in its present day but does on occasion hark back to Josephine’s life before the world went awry, her family life and relationship with her sister. This book feels so much like its own thing that I cannot fathom what the first book was. Josephine Seven is a newly created android and the story starts at this point. This makes Book 2 an acceptable starting point, but you will need to keep up.
The book is an odyssey as Seven meets' characters on the way, making new allies and enemies. It has the feel of a Greek opus and some of the characters and situations hark back to the classics. With the androids and AI wars, it is also a very science fiction rich novel. Different AI control their territory by different means. The army of Josephines, a collective that has retreated to the deepest oceans, swarm like AIs and good old-fashioned drugging of humans to keep them pliant. We learn about all these factions.
A factor that makes Queen notable is the character of Josephine herself. A 13-year-old trapped in the super strong body of an android. Once a twin but know part of a huge sisterhood of over a million clones. Seven is different from her sisters, she lacks the ability to use their secret language. This assures that her personality is never lost and that the reader can appreciate her story.
With so many ideas packed into one story, Queen is the type of science fiction novel for readers who enjoy an energetic story that is always moving. Seven is on a quest and she must succeed, we meet so many different characters and you never know if they are friend or foe. The AIs abilities means that you cannot trust anything you read, an animal may be a robot, or what you are seeing may just be in your mind. This makes Queen of Babylon a fun trip to be on, in one more meaning of the phrase.
Written on 23rd January 2023 by Sam Tyler .